If you get frustrated meditating, you’re actually doing it right

I remember the first time I went surfing. All I wanted to do was stand-up at least once. Wave after wave I pushed myself up, only to find that almost a millisecond later I was under the water. With each failed attempt I could feel myself getting a little bit frustrated until I had finally had enough.

Feeling defeated, I shuffled back to my car saying to myself, “Well that was disappointing.”

The next time I went surfing a friend of mine said to me, “Just forget about trying to surf and just have fun. It’ll come.”

This time, I was just sitting on my board mid-laughter at something my mate said when a wave came. I paddled, not thinking about too much and before I knew I was up standing, trimming across the water. I’ll never forget it. The smile on my face was ear-to-ear.

Fast forward 15 years and I’m happy to say that that simple perspective shift has given me so many wonderful surfing experiences.

The amount of people I meet that say, “I tried meditation but couldn’t get my mind to switch off and to be honest, I found it a bit frustrating,” reminds me of my initial attempts at surfing.

I always reply, “Perfect! Sounds like you’re doing it just right.” They then proceed to just look at me blankly and confused as I go on to explain that firstly, the very fact they are catching themselves wandering off or being distracted is, in fact, the actual telling sign that they are becoming more aware and conscious.

If they didn’t have any of these frustrating moments then they are still completely on autopilot mode.

Then I make a simple suggestion, that the next time they’re meditating and experience any of these frustrating moments to just, “Smile and congratulate yourself. You’re becoming more aware and conscious. Then simply and gently direct your mind back to the original point of focus, whether that was your breath or mantra.”

By shifting how you respond to these moments, your meditation experience will drastically change.

Remember that meditation is something to simply be enjoyed, not mastered but by taking this approach you ironically become a master at it.

Now, I’m off to go catch a wave.

Luke McLeod is a meditation a teacher and the founder of Soul Alive. Follow him on Instagram @luke.mcleod

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